Game Recap/Notes: Game #36, Pistons 107 - Heat 98. (16-20)

 

 Not exactly the way the Pistons were hoping it to go given how short handed the Heat were, but a lot of it was that the Heat shot insanely well, finishing the game 14-26 from 3. Which is pretty absurd even if the Pistons were not playing very good defense. But regardless of all that, the Pistons really needed a win no matter how it came. They got a win, and had some very good games from guys, so I will take it.

 

Box score.

 

Reggie Jackson:

Reggie struggled a bit with his passing early in the game, but was able to cut out the mistakes and really got going scoring the ball. He finished the game with 27 points on 19 equivalents, and had 4 assists against 3 turnovers. He was largely working his game pretty well getting to the hoop or hitting floaters. He also had a couple of middle finger buckets, including a dagger 3 at the end of the game. That 3 at the end is a perfect example of why the Pistons need Reggie Jackson though, there isn't anyone else on the team who makes that bucket. If the Pistons are going to get where they want to go, he needs to be back in form, he looked it tonight. A couple of very bad passes early in the game but he worked his way through it, which is really what you want.

 

KCP:

Played 40 minutes, scored 23 points on 16 equivalents, had 5 assists against 2 turnovers, and added on 6 assists and a pair of steals just for good measure. It was a very complete offensive game for him, other than one play where he passed up an open shot and got it stolen that was just, ugh, he didn't make any bad shots really or generally bad plays at all. Him learning how to throw oops to Andre is one of his best improvements this year, it is something that was totally lacking before this year, and opposing defenses have still not really adjusted to it which has resulted in some really easy buckets for the Pistons. It will be interesting to see how he does as defenses start to adjust to his newfound passing skills, but for now I'm mostly enjoying it. Very good game offensively. I don't know for sure if it is because I am watching him with a more critical eye the last several games, (last year unless I saw something bad I just sort of assumed he was playing awesome) but there were just too many plays where he just got eaten by screens and the like. He's still very good, but it is a bit concerning to me the way that he appears to have stepped back defensively, when he was so incredibly good last year. Regardless, as far as this game goes, he was excellent. Very good game for KCP.

 

Marcus Morris:

Bit of a quiet night for Marcus, but a fine one regardless. 11 points on 10 equivalents, 1 rebound and 1 assist in 31 minutes. He didn't spend much time with the ball in his hands, but he got a couple of 3s to fall and played pretty good defense for most of the game. This sort of game is not Marcus at his best, but it is a why he is useful as a player, because even though he can be really valuable with the ball in his hands and creating lots of shots, he can also just be a normal 3 and D type of role player and do fine at that too.

 

Jon Leuer:

Very quiet night for Leuer in 28 minutes. Just 1 of 4 from the field for 2 points, with 3 rebounds and 3 assists. Bit of a let down given how well he has played since entering the starting lineup, but he didn't do too poorly, just wasn't involved much. I think a big reason that him and Marcus ended up having fairly quiet nights is that the Pistons decided to really go to their bread and butter with Reggie and Andre in the pick and roll, and the Heat kept giving Reggie looks to shoot.

 

Andre Drummond:

Andre pretty well dominated the game for much of it, which even though he was playing against a very thin front line for the Heat, I don't know what else he did everything you would hope a star would do against a depleted team. The only downside was that it took him 22 equivalents to reach 25 points, and there were a couple of shots that he just has to get to fall but other than that it was a really impressive game. 25 points, 18 rebounds (6 of which were offensive), 2 steals, and 2 blocks is a very gaudy stat line. He got his work done in all phases of his offensive game, whether out of the pick and roll, offensive rebounds, or out of the post. Just a really good game for him. On the downside, he is slipping a bit on his free throws after a 1 of 6 night.

 

Tobias Harris:

Tobias is currently a living example of how going to the bench doesn't really mean that much. Tobias played 35 minutes, good for 3rd on the team tonight. His 17 points came on 16 equivalents which is not quite up to his normal standard, and he didn't record an assist either, so a decent but not great offensive performance. One really cool thing from tonight though, was that he made full usage of the length and athleticism that has caused many to continue believing that he can be an impactful defender even though he has always been pretty bad. He had 2 steals and 2 blocks in the game, and both blocks were very impressive and actually represent, possibly, his best chance to become a plus on defense. He has the ups and timing to actually provide some very potent emergency rim protection, especially if he is playing at the 3 spot. Regaldless, it was a pretty good game for Tobias, and I liked how much he attacked the rim to finish with 7 free throws, (one of which was a technical shot) it just would've been nice if he had hit a couple more shots. He also is off to a decent start to his 6th man of the year campaign if he does in fact remain there for the rest of the season.

 

Ish Smith:

Didn't score a point, had 4 rebounds and 2 assists in his 15 minutes, and put up an ugly 0 for 7 from the field, which is just a friendly reminder that you don't really want him to be starting again, not if you want the Pistons to ever win anything. He still played some very tidy defense and one of his missed shots was really a pass to Baynes as he drew 2 defenders and just tossed it at the backboard for an easy put back, but still not a very good game for Ish. It is remarkable how he can miss some shots and layups.

 

Stanley Johnson:

Stanley played 13 minutes, had 3 rebounds, an assist, and no points going 0-1 from the field. He continues to be sitting in the area of not putting up any meaningful numbers and yet still being very impactful with good defense. He really appears to be grasping NBA defense from a mental perspective and that is huge for him. Regardless, he didn't have much of an impact either way, but he played good defense while he was out there.

 

Aron Baynes:

Only played 9 minutes, and played fine I guess. In the 4th quarter however, he had his ankle landed on which caused it to go pretty much totally sideways for what could be aptly called an extreme rolling of the ankle. He left the game and did not return, and just by the look of it, he at the very least has a pretty nasty sprain, and at worst could even have been a break, although X-rays were negative on a break. Supposedly he is in a boot for now, so we will have to moniter that situation. For all the flak he has received this year (much of it deserved) we have to keep in mind that he is still a solid backup center, so hopefully he comes back soon. As is, if he does miss some time it will be interesting to see either Boban get some real minutes, or see how Leuer can do playing center in real minutes. Either way I'm kind of hoping Baynes misses like a game just to see one of those scenarios play out.

 

General:

The Pistons appeared to lock in defensively in the 2nd half, but I think it just had to do with the Heat more than anything. In the first half they hit freaking everything they shot, and they regressed to the mean in a bad way in the 2nd half. This game does not give me a lot of faith that the Pistons are bouncing back, but it is a start regardless, and it was very nice to see Reggie getting buckets.

 

 

What do you think? How do you think Reggie looked? Would you rather see Leuer take backup center minutes or Boban?